The University of Massachusetts School of Public Policy (SPP) is the hub of interdisciplinary public policy research, teaching, and engagement at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. SPP teaches and conducts rigorous research to realize social change and solve problems for the common good. SPP faculty and alumni are effective policy leaders from the local to the global levels in addressing topics such as family and care policy, environmental issues, emerging technologies, social inequalities, and governance.


Formerly the Center for Public Policy and Administration (CPPA), the School of Public Policy was approved by the UMass Board of Trustees in September of 2015. SPP will continue its long tradition of providing rigorous professional training for students attracted to public service and careers in public administration.

In 2015, our program was named among the most innovative public service programs in the United States by the independent group Best Value Schools. In 2011, we received NASPAA's inaugural social equity award for teaching, research and service aimed at advancing social justice and social change.

SPP celebrated its 15th anniversary in 2013. The School grew out of an earlier public administration master’s program in the political science department. In the mid-1990s, Dean Glen Gordon of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences (SBS) commissioned a group to develop a new interdisciplinary program that would combine public policy analysis with public management skills. In 1998, we accepted our first class of students into the new SPP program. SPP, while still housed in SBS, is now truly an interdisciplinary program, with faculty from three colleges and 11 departments.

Since the new millennium, UMass has produced a growing number of master's degree graduates in public policy and administration, from eight (8) in 2000 to 31 in 2014. Alumni go on to become public administrators, policy analysts, and nonprofit leaders across the globe. SPP will continue to be housed within the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences.